ILLIAM M. CHAMBERS, M. D., the oldest resident physician of Charleston, came
to this county in the fall of 1855, from
Covington, Ky., where he had successfully followed
the practice of his profession for a period of ten
years. He was born in Cynthiana, Ky., April 11,
1814, and is the son of James and Sallie (Rankin)
Chambers, the former a native of Pennsylvania
and the latter of Kentucky. His grandfather,
James Chambers, was born in Scotland, whence he
emigrated to the United States while a young man,
and settled near Chambersburg, Pa., where he followed his trade as a stonemason. He also married
there and reared a family, and his son, James, Jr.,
learned the same trade. |
James Chambers, Jr., the father of our subject,
served as a soldier in the War of 1812. He came
to Illinois in 1850 and settling near Charleston, remained a permanent resident until his death, which
took place in the summer of 1873, after he had attained the age of eighty-three years. He was a man of
much force of character, a stanch member of the old
Whig party, and signalized his belief in the Christian religion early in life by becoming a member of
the Methodist Episcopal Church, with which he
continued until his death. The mother departed
this life at the old homestead, near Charleston, in
1855. She also belonged to the same church as
her husband, and was in all respects his suitable and
worthy helpmeet. The parental household included
eight children, five now living, namely, William
M., of our sketch, Thomas G., Mary A., Hannah
A. and Sarah B.
Dr. Chambers was reared in his native town and
attended school there until seventeen years old.
There also he commenced the study of medicine in
1833, and three years later began the practice of
his chosen profession in Harrison County. He still
continued his close application to his books, and in
due time entered the medical department of Transylvania University at Lexington, from which he
graduated in 1843. His practice while a resident
of Kentucky was mostly in Covington and vicinity.
After coming to this county and soon after the
outbreak of the Rebellion, Dr. Chambers was appointed by President Lincoln Brigade Surgeon in
the Union army, serving in the division of the
Cumberland until in July, 1865. The fidelity with
which he fulfilled the duties of that position was
rewarded with the brevet of Lieutenant Colonel
and afterward Colonel. In his mangement of the
hospitals under his charge, he displayed most excellent judgment and introduced many features which
proved of great benefit to both patients and attendants.
After an absence of four years Dr. Chambers re-
turned to Charleston and resumed his practice as a
private citizen, and became connected with the various important medical societies of the Mississippi
Valley. He was President of the Kentucky State
Medical, the Illinois Medical, and the Esculapian
Societies of the Wabash Valley, and in 1877 was
appointed by Gov. Cullum a member of the Health
Association of the United States. He is now
Examining Surgeon for Pensions.
The marriage of Dr. William M. Chambers and
Miss C. A. Porter, of Harrison County, Ky., took
place in Pulmansville, Ky., in the spring of 1837.
After remaining the companion of her husband but
three short years Mrs. Chambers departed this life
in the spring of 1840, leaving one child, a son,
Charles S., who now a resident of Hopkinsville, Ky.
Dr. Chambers was subsequently married to Miss
Mary B. F. Ingals, of Kentucky. This lady was a
lineal descendant of Daniel Boone. and died on the
30th of December, 1876, at her home in Charleston, leaving two children. These were Mollie M.
S., now the wife of Dr. C. A. Payton, surgeon of
the Sac and Fox Indian Agency in Indian Territory, and T. Gavin, who is an attorney and a resident of Kansas. The Doctor is a stanch supporter
of the Democratic party, and a Royal Arch Mason.